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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Health care: The Florida reaction




Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando: I’m glad the president is proposing insurance exchanges that will help the nearly one-in-four Floridians who don’t have or cannot get affordable health insurance. Americans who are satisfied with their coverage should be able to keep what they have. And we ought to make coverage affordable for those who don’t have it.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota: We should focus on balanced, common-sense reforms such as eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse, reducing frivolous lawsuits, coverage of pre-existing conditions, ensuring portability and preserving the doctor-patient relationship.  We should also create association health plans that allow small businesses to purchase group health plans, which will make coverage more affordable by spreading risk and increasing negotiating power.

Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami: Tonight’s speech was a game-changer. President Obama brought clarity to the health care debate. His objective is straightforward: offering stability and security in our health insurance system to Floridians with insurance and to Floridians who lack insurance.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando: Tonight, the President laid out his plan for health care reform that will bring stability and security to health care in America. He and I both want it to deliver peace of mind for everyone. If you change jobs, lose your job, or lose your health, you should be able to get affordable health insurance. Under the President’s plan, you will be able to.

Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton: I enthusiastically agree with the priorities that President Obama outlined tonight, which include providing affordable and accessible coverage for all Americans, delivering real competition in the market to drive down costs, and helping seniors afford their prescription drugs. Congress is on the cusp of delivering historic change, and tonight President Obama provided the vision and initiative for us to get this done.”

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: Health insurance reform is vital to Florida families and businesses. The status quo is not working for too many of my neighbors and is too expensive. We need to bring competition to lower costs for our hard-working families and make insurance available to many more. No longer will insurance companies be able to deny you coverage if you get sick, they won't be able to charge you higher premiums because of medical history or current illness, if you change jobs, you can carry your policy with you, and you won't have to pay co-pays or deductibles for preventative care. And if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.

RPOF Chairman Jim Greer: The President’s speech tonight was a good effort in discussing this important issue with the American public. I, along with many people, believe that our health care system has challenges which must be addressed and while I agreed with much of what the President had to say, there is still much that I cannot support when it comes to government run health care and the many unanswered questions that still exist.  At the end of the day,  the President was right when he said that the need for bipartisanship cooperation is crucial to passing health care reform legislation that all Americans can support.

Florida Democratic Chairwoman Karen Thurman: We are closer than ever to passing comprehensive reform and President Obama has laid out a clear path forward. Unfortunately, Republican leaders in Florida have decided to stand in lock-step opposition to reform. They want to maintain the status quo and hurt President Obama politically. Opponents of reform have a choice. They can either stop playing partisan games and come up with their own reform proposal, or they can start explaining to the American people why it's better to stand by and do nothing at all as thousands more Floridians face skyrocketing costs and lose their coverage every day.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum: President Obama gave a well delivered speech tonight that was great on style and wrong on substance.  The health care plan that Washington Democrats and what I suspect my opponent Alex Sink supports will not work in its current form.  As I have said before, these proposals will reduce the quality of care, limit choice and put our more than three million senior citizens in Florida at great risk.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:17pm]


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